Africa's fashion boutiques are going global on Instagram and WhatsApp | RetailTechPodcast

Africa's fashion boutiques are going global on Instagram and WhatsApp

Instagram alone provides a potential customer base of 1 billion, with 500 million daily users. The scrolling thumbs may not be as intentional as foot traffic to a physical store, but it has brought a global reach to African fashion retailers that was unimaginable just a few years ago. "Stumbling on a beautiful fashion item, then reaching out directly on WhatsApp is much stronger than browsing an e-commerce website." WhatsApp is the most popular messaging platform in Africa, and is a gateway to the online world for many. Despite the lack of a formal transactional platform, WhatsApp has cultivated trust among its millions of African users, making it easier for African consumers to trust and access than actual e-commerce platforms. The combination of Instagram and WhatsApp, and to a lesser extent Facebook, have been a boon for small retailers, who are now able to market their goods, set up de facto e-commerce platforms and manage customer engagement at a fraction of the price. Small Instagram retailers use over-the-top payment services, like cash transfers, EFT or PayPal, depending on what works for the customer. African consumers are more comfortable buying via WhatsApp or direct messaging, says Evelyn Aligba founder and creative director of House of GDI. Launched in Lagos' Lekki in 2017, House of GDI has successfully integrated several social platforms, such as including a WhatsApp link in email marketing, in order to grow the business beyond Lagos. Read more